The officers were out at sea in their boat when they spotted the dark object in the water. The shape was splashing around, and seemed to be in some distress. When they got closer, they realized it was a large animal, and it would die without their help.
The sea is home to a great many creatures, but not all of them are flourishing. In fact, some of them are vulnerable animals coming dangerously close to extinction. Pollution and hunting play a part in pushing them ever nearer to their downfall.
Turtles are particularly threatened by pollution because their primary prey is jellyfish. Degraded plastic bags in the ocean look uncannily like jellyfish, and turtles sometimes swallow them as a result. The bags block the turtle’s digestive system, and the consequences can be fatal.